Saturday, January 18, 2014

Top 5 benefits of a bed-ridden world (or read this the next time i lose Hope)

A friend suggested this title to me for my next blog entry after discovering that i hadnt written in my blog for more than a year. I dismissed it at that time because a) I was in the throes of maddening numbing pain after my ankle operation and b) ummm i was depressed because i was in the throes of maddening numbing pain after my ankle operation.  So even though i did vaguely think that i would like to write about this experience as it has been one of the most painful and difficult episodes of my life till date.  Especially as i tend to forget difficult periods and only moan about the problems that have befallen me at that exact period in time or get depressed about nothing at all. Short-sighted but thats how things have always worked out in my life. Coincidentally just before I fell and while I was still in Singapore I had borrowed a book called "making hope happen" by shane lopez who is a renowned gallup scientist.  A very inspiring book for sure and it was my companion through the screaming nights of pain in the hospital and sometimes depressing sometimes inspiring days and nights of my now 5 week recovery period (if your takeaway from that was that i am a slow reader, that was completely not the point and untrue to boot as i finished 2 other books in the same period...you need to absorb some books and not just rush through them).  One of the interesting parts of the book was how relevant the ancient greek text Odysseus is to modern day hopeful thinking and decision making.  He copes with the sirens i.e. Distractions by recruiting the help of others i.e. His canaries.  I am hoping that this post will act as one of my canaries in helping me on the path to progress towards my goals.

  So anyway without digressing further or providing more boring background, let me just plunge into the benefits (from the optimist's point of view) of a bed-ridden world:

1. You can order everyone around, dont need to do anything yourself and get pampered and pitied
even if the fall was the result of a drunken high heeled sojourn in a nightclub. Best. Result. Ever.

2.  5 weeks paid leave, great home food and tons of time with family.  Of course i was working from home and did have to work quite a bit for a week, but i realllyyy cant complain at all! The bonus was that i got to stay home during the holiday period and no one could really complain that i didnt do enough work as there wasnt too much work anyway.

3. My liver will thank me forever.  No or negligible alcohol for 6 weeks!  This hasnt happened since...2008 i think! Wow!

4. I knew acute pain for the first time in my life and as a corollary i know what it means to be pain-free - my usual state of affairs but which i never appreciated.  Have you ever had nightmares when you have been screaming and howling in pain and then suddenly you are woken up and its bright sunshine and the world is still a happy place? Thats how i feel nowadays...aah ok. Im not mary poppins yet but you know what i mean right?

5. When i finally walked with minimal support and then with no support, all the internet horror stories fled like ants drenched in water...it was freedom. It was wonderful and i am sure if i was that kind of girl or in an ekta kapoor serial, i would have had a few glycerine tears to shed.  Now looking forward to my first run...first dance...i think dr. Lopez, i have taken the first baby steps towards hope...





Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Serendipity in the time of whatsapp

I recently gifted one of my good friends a book by an author i really like.  Love in the time of cholera by gabriel garcia marquez. He then told me oh this is just serendipity! I was like, why? He was surprised that me, being a girl hadnt watched serendipity, one of those ultimate of ultimate romantic movies. The kind girls base all their dreams and hopes of the "One" on (well i think for me that was personified by before sunrise but more on that another time) and then badger their husbands or boyfriends to be more romantic or hopefully fantasise of finding one who will be.  So ever the practical sort, i promptly downloaded the movie and just let it lie in the downloads section of my laptop saving it for a sad hopeless day, we all know the kind. Today wasnt one of those but when my initial ide of watching a bollywood movie with my folks didnt pan out, i just decided to watch this.

As this isnt a review of the movie ( i would be 13 years too late in any case) i will just jump into the topic at hand.  Of course the hopeless romantic girl in me loved the movie.  Even the most practical hard boiled jaded girl will not be able to honestly swear on her "One" (as no one wants to jinx true love, whether you have found it or not) and tell me that something in tht movie didnt appeal to her.  I was trying to figure out if a concept like this, however far fetched and hollywoodish it may be can ever work in todays day and age with all the multifarious communication devices that we have (Bbm, facebook, twitter, whatsapp blah blah- together generalised as whatsapp (and yep thats the lawyer in me, be happy i didnt capitalise)).  I am going to loosely re-create the basic plot but in 2014:

Jon meets sara during sales on christmas eve (there are possibilities here that they wouldnt even be physically shopping but just logging on via their tablet or laptop precisely to beat the crowds and out of stock items which brought them together in the first place but as the movie and consequently this post is about destiny, i am going to discard that train of thought).  So they met and in the midst of whatsapping their respective soon to be forgotten loves, they reached for the gloves.  Then we know what happened, lets not change anything till we get serendipity the cafe. Half the magic is lost because though they are undeniably attracted to each other, they are still distracted by the numerous sounds that their smartphones are making every second.  And however destiny and serendipity focussed sara is we know that when they do tear themselves away from those phones, the ice skating rink works its charm and she agrees to give him her number.  But who writes numbers on pieces of paper anymore?  Jonathon of course types it onto his phone and immediately adds her on whatsapp. No question of the paper just flying away then right? They part but keep in touch on whatsapp and maybe they are soulmates and they start dating and get married and live happily ever after.  More likeky it jyst becomes another mundane whatsapp flirtationship with some occasional sexting.  No 5 dollar note, no waldorf astoria and no marquez.  No magic. No serendipity.

Because dont you see its not only who you meet, its how you meet and the image that creates in your mind and soul.  Whatsapp has made things easier but it has also taken chance away from the equation. There can be serendipity, no alignment of events and no im not in anyway saying that serendipity the movie is anything but fiction but i do still believe in magic, because ive felt it bfore and hope to on e again.

Now if only that smartphone had been out of charge....

Monday, January 6, 2014

FEM

Today I dont want to be the wimp. Today I am angry. Today I am not diplomatic. Today I am going to be blunt. I hate hindi serials!!! I hate their portrayal of women, of relationships, of life! I dont profess to know a lot about life but I have been watching Hindi serials for a long time, often reluctantly because it used to be on for all my waking hours and at one point of time, on the only TV in the house. Now, I watch only when I want numbness. (Ok, I won't give any more excuses...they are kind of addictive). But I disagree with them. And on pain of being branded a feminist, (Actually it's not a pain, every woman I believe, worth her ego should be a feminist) and in utmost anger, I have started the Female Ego Movement (FEM). (I am the sole member of this movement at the moment) I think that Feminist movements were fine in their day and age but now that we have managed to get under the skin of men in a number of fields, (at least some of us have) [this was a pun, it makes no difference if I say it wasn't, you'll always think it was) it's now time for something else and I thank Ekta Kapoor and her ilk for giving me the inspiration through their medieval, screwed up, patriarchal, hindi serials.

I would first like to lay down some fundamental tenets of FEM (DO NOT dare compare it with the Hair Removal Cream. FEM is not the best brand...oops sorry...this wasnt for this post):

1) Women need egos. Their egos are bigger, more important and often hidden. So every time a woman is paraded in front of suitors who reject her, every time she is scolded by her mom-in-law and every time she is told that her aim in life is to be the ideal bahu, she should turn around and stick out her tongue. So There!

2) Women need wives too. This is not an original idea. I believe I have read about it a number of times. And this is not a support of lesbianism or a critique of the flavour of the season i.e. Section 377.  IPC. I just think that women need those glorified and absolutely subservient creatures who dress in heavy ugly Silks and heavy ugly gold jewellery and look after the house, the kids and the bai everyday. And what's more. These wives should be Men.

3) Women need a career. They don't need a job as a secretary, or a part-time teacher, while they wait to get married.  And then promptly quit these jobs when their boss falls in love with their dainty beauty in modest salwar kameezes.  Nowadays they are sometimes social workers whose "cause" is then gallantly adopted by their rich but kind suitors. Blah.  Women can fight the causes better because guess what tpits HER cause.  I am sure if someone asked me to fight for sachin's return to professional cricket, i would do a poor job.  I mean he's a great cricketer and i admire him for leaving the dirty sport with a ujala spotless reputation but that would not be my chosen cause.  Sorry for this obtuse example but it was for the benefit of indian men as i would hope women get the point im making.

4) Dressing in western clothes doesnt make me evil. Nor does red lipstick.  Pop colours fyi are in (oops not that relevant for this post either).  Why is it that in today's day and age when even grandmoms from traditional families wear dresses and pants and there is immense hullabaloo and criticism regarding the perceived image of women in the rape debate (kudos to the makers of that viral sarcastic video - its your fault http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8hC0Ng_ajpY). Wanted a serial where the bahu prances around in shorts or a power suit for her job as a corporate honcho.  Ekta, are you listening?

FEM will not rest till reality meets soaps and then some.  In fact, i accept that my reality may not be the reality of every indian woman.  So FEM will continue till every fantasy meets reality (maybe other than men wearing ugly saris, i clearly hadnt thought that one through).

Go FEM!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sleep

When I close my eyes
I know I will forget all cries

every night, I die inside
knowing you are so far away

like a uni-coloured rainbow
like a sunny day without warmth
all beauty loses colour

when i close my eyes,
tonight
i hope i dream of you...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

(Pre)Interlude


This is hopefully the prelude to a new blog I wanted to start once I started living in London. However, the living was so stressful that I just couldn't bring myself to write about it. Has that ever happened to you? When it's like writing about something is living it once again and that is just too painful to contemplate?

So the name of the blog was supposed to be "London I" something like a pun on the famous London Eye, my eyes being newly made normal and of course London & I. But now that I have explained what it means, the charm is lost somewhere, the mystery and the allure...ok if it possessed any of these things, they would have been lost. So I have decided to stick to this blog (yay!) and instead upgrade it. Make it swankier (read: not pink!) and add cool pictures, links etc. Let's see could I make it a current event special, or maybe a gossip special (I suppose gossip from my workplace wouldn't appeal to the larger palate)...hmm yeah I know it could be a general outlook of my usually boring life...like it already was.

With that optimistic (pessimistic) thought, thus ends the brief interlude...a transition between student and real life...now you will either hear from me very often...or never.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Top five benefits of a hazy world

This post has been written in the post-operative discomfort of a person recovering from Lasik. Just a quick aside before I launch into the topic at hand: don't go for the surgery if you expect to jump up from the operation table and run around. Expect blurry vision, headaches and the surgeon reassuring you about the astounding success of the operation while you just want to get your contacts or even your spectacles back cuz your eyes are screaming for them and your optical nerves are bursting for relief. It's been 4 days and I am wondering if I am exaggerating...will let you know in another week or so.

So now to the topic of discussion: (in countdown style, never done this kinda thing before)
5) You never notice the dirt: Take off your spectacles, don't wear your lenses and unless it smells, even the yuckiest toilet, like one of those in the stop-over hotels on the Delhi highway seems like they are in a five star hotel. (of course its not advisable to become blind in one of those places, jeez it was just an example!)
4) You can get off from doing a lot of work if something has happened to your visual aids: "i can't see..."
3) Even if you accidentally break your teeth when the world is hazy for you, people don't blame you. (Of course, you have broken teeth and people might laugh at you for years)
2) You don't need to swim if you don't want to: you can always blame the haziness
1) When everything is blurry, and then you suddenly wear your glasses or contacts and things come into focus, you are pleasantly surprised everytime: it's such a beautiful world.

Nah, Lasik (even without all my discomfort) just doesnt come anywhere close.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Lights



This is possibly the last Diwali as I know it. No, the world is not about to end. Last Diwali for me. The Last Diwali at home for a long time if things go according to the way they are planned at the moment. For a extremely non-religious person, I have a surprising love of festivals. Christmas doesn't count because that's always been more about the gifts and the parties in my experience. I am talking about Indian festivals: the extravagant ones. I would love to go out and play Holi if I had the chance but usually don't for various reasons, usually the lack of people! Even Durga Puja holds a special place in my heart, though being a "Non-Bong" I am obliged to crib about it. (Was going to write a post about it, but as most posts it was written in my head and never translated into typed words in virtuality)

But it is Diwali which has captured my heart. Completely. There is something about Diwali. It comes upon you slowly but when it's there you just can't ignore it. It bursts like those illegal crackers, creating as much sound as light. Lights. Why do I like them so much? Give me a pretty light over a pretty flower anyday. In Calcutta, add Kali Puja lights to Diwali and it's CESC's lucky day. Or days. The day before Diwali, I am invariably in the streets in the evening for some much grumbled against errand. But the moment I descend the last step of my building (yeah, we have no lift, die unfit jealous critic) and glimpse the streets and the balconies, their twinkling lights (LED mostly nowadays) all my complaints are forgotten (unless I have been wrested cruelly from the grips of an awesome book...aah thats irrelevant to this topic isn't it?).

It is in my home though that I find the most amount of excitement. Diwali also happens to be my Grandmum's birthday. And birthdays are a huge affair in my home. H-U-G-E. So other than the usual Rangoli (made by yours truly), the puja inscriptions (mum) and the sundry decorarations, flowers, diyas, puja shopping, we have people coming over for lunch and sometimes dinner. Cake and Kheer (for the lucky few who don't know what this is, you are blessed my friends. For the really curious, its a sweet liquidy thing, my advice: Stay away!!) are mandatory of course. Add to that 3 people with high blood pressure, usually short-tempered and harried with work Mum and Me (keep popping up, don't I?) and I don't think I should waste words here anymore.

New clothes were a huge attraction when I was younger but now it's the one time of the year I buy a Salwar suit, so not much practical use there. Fireworks and crackers have lost much of their crackle. Literally, as anyone living in West Bengal will know. The illegal sounds are the heralder of Diwali from weeks in advance and a noisy reminder days later. I still love them with the enthusiasm of a child. Probably with more than the enthusiasm of today's spoilt brats, no offense. But that's not it. Could it be the actual Puja? The ceremony in our home is simplistic to say the least. No one even sits still throughout the whole ceremony, and there are frequent fights in the middle between the participants, so none of the fabled peace and quiet of a religious ceremony here.

I have enough reasons to be sad on Diwali too. The most tangible reason was when I got burnt while picking up used sparklers. But the intangible ones are the places and people who sit in the darkness even on this day. For whom even affording a light is no mean achievement. The others are those who might be able to afford one but whose light will never reach their lives. For every little diya on a dark staircase, there are dark staircases without diyas. For every little girl/boy with a happy smile and a phuljari (sparkler), there is one without. My heart fills with despair and for that moment, even the brightest light can't fill the darkness...

As I lighted the second diya from the first one and plopped it down on the narrow verandah, a little more light cut through the night. Then the same thing happened with the third. Nothing strange about this. But it gave me an idea. What if I just gave one candle or diya to those in the darkness? If each of us did that, wouldn't one light spread to another... at least on this one special day couldn't there be a little less darkness? I did that today, did you?